Softball

SB: Gators record fourth straight shutout; sweep day two of Bubly Invitational

Gainesville, FL – Florida swept day two of the Bubly Invitational, defeating both North Dakota State and Longwood for the second day in a row.

The Bison entered with a 2-1 record, having lost to Florida yesterday by a score of 5-0, while Longwood entered its matchup with a 1-1 record after being run-ruled by the Gators last night.

In the first of a double-header, Florida snuck past North Dakota State by a score 1-0 on a walk-off in the seventh inning. In the second matchup, the Gators run-ruled Longwood by a score of 11-0 to record their fourth shutout of the weekend.

Game 1

Final: Florida 1, North Dakota State 0

Win: Natalie Lugo (4-1)

Loss: Paige Vargas (2-2)

Game Recap

Paige Vargas and Natalie Lugo had a pitching duel going until the bottom of the seventh when Florida’s offense finally delivered. Jade Caraway led off the inning with an infield single and then advanced to second base on Hannah Sipos’ sacrifice bunt. With two outs leadoff hitter, Hannah Adams, delivered in the clutch as she knocked a walk-off single into left field to bring home Caraway.

Natalie Lugo recorded her fourth win of the season, throwing a 2-hit complete game shutout while striking out 7 batters. Lugo improved her ERA to a team-low 1.33. As for the Bison, Paige Vargas pitched an impressive outing against a formidable Florida offense. Vargas allowed just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings pitched.

Game 2

Final: Florida 11, Longwood 0 (5)

Win: Elizabeth Hightower (2-0)

Loss: Arleigh Wood (1-2)

Game Recap

After a sluggish offensive performance in the first game, Florida’s bats woke up against Longwood early on. In the first inning, the Gators notched three runs on four hits. Hannah Adams led off with an infield single and later scored on Julia Cottrill’s single to left field. One batter later, Jordan Roberts drove in two runs on a single to centerfield.

In the bottom of the fourth, Florida quickly loaded the bases and proceeded to hit three consecutive RBI-singles followed by a sacrifice fly. The hit parade continued when freshman right fielder, Baylee Goddard, stroked a 3-run opposite field home run to extend Florida’s lead to 11-0. After the game, Florida head coach, Tim Walton, commented on Goddard’s strong approach and work ethic, assuring she is “going to be very, very dangerous” as she gains experience.

The lead gave the Gators some breathing room and put the 8-run rule in effect. In the top half of the fifth, Florida finished off Longwood in 1-2-3 order to secure the 11-0 win.

Florida starting pitcher, Elizabeth Hightower, dealt 5 solid innings, striking out 8 batters en route to a 1-hit complete game shutout. Hightower was only the second pitcher the Gators used all day, which should keep the rest of the pitching staff well-rested for tomorrow’s double-header.

Notable Stats:

  • Florida now holds a combined 18-0 record versus NDSU and Longwood
  • Kendyl Lindaman extends her hitting streak to 9 games
  • Elizabeth Hightower struck out 8 of 17 batters faced
  • Florida currently has 5 players hitting .400 or better (Adams, Echols, Goddard, Cottrill, Lindsey)

Looking Ahead

The Gators will wrap up the weekend tomorrow with yet another double-header. They’ll take on Southeastern Louisiana at 11:30 AM and Florida A&M at 2 PM. Florida still holds the best record among the Bubly Invitational contestants at 4-0. Meanwhile, NDSU drops to 2-2, Longwood and Southeastern Louisiana are tied at 1-2, and Florida A&M sits in last place at 0-3.

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